The brothers Winchester weren't exactly on the same page in "The Girl Next Door." While Dean was stuck on the couch with a broken leg, Sam decided to work a case from his past. We were treated to flashbacks of the Colin Ford kind (I still marvel at the perfect casting of mini-Sam Winchester). As we got a little peek into what life was like for the youngest Winchester back in the day, this latest case led to what was a pretty explosive ending. And not explosive in a TNT/kaboom/special effects sort of way but explosive in the "what the hell just happened" sort of way.
I fully intended to start off this latest blog with talking about the fact Jensen directed this episode and what a wonderful job he did. Don't worry. I'll get to it. I feel like I really need to begin with the way "The Girl Next Door" ended. Well, not the very end. The part right before the nasty Leviathan poured hot, scalding cheese sauce on his victim and then proceeded to treat him like a big, heaping plate of nachos.
First, let me set things up. When Sam was a teenager, the Winchesters were on the hunt for what turned out to be a Kitsune. A young Sam, unsurprisingly, handled the research aspect of it. At the library he met Amy, a mysterious girl he tried to ask out. After Sam saved her from a couple of rotten boys causing trouble, he went over to her house where she gave him first aid. Unfortunately, her abusive mom came home and Sam ultimately realized they were the things he and his family were hunting. When Amy's awful mother tried to hurt Sam, Amy killed her. Then Sam told his new friend to get out of town A.S.A.P.
Fast forward to the present. Amy's back in Sam's life just as bodies (with missing brains, a Kitsune special) start to pile up. She says she's living a normal life: She's a mortician (better access to bodies and brains -- no killing required when her food is already dead), she has a mortgage and a son. She claims to be a boring PTA mom. It's only because her son fell ill that she began the murder spree. The fresh meat helped save him.
Sam, knowing what she did for him back in the day, is OK with letting her go. She's adamant she'll never resort to killing again. Amy says she's managing to keep her inner Kitsune on the down low, she's basically not giving into the urge. But, she's really only managing until necessity deems she kill again. In this case, her son was sick. What's the reason going to be the next time?
Sam gives Dean the same kind of spiel. That he's fine. That he's managing his hellucinations. But is he really? Sam asks his brother to trust him, to trust that it was okay for him to let Amy go. Dean agrees a little too easily. He doesn't leave things there. He takes the decision out of Sam's hands and goes and kills Amy himself. The possibility for her to go Kitsune on somebody is always present; he feels he can't let something like her live. That whole scene, I kept hoping Dean wouldn't do it but he did.
Of course, since the Winchesters have the worst luck in the world, when Dean turns around with the bloody knife in his hand, Amy's son is right there. The kid looks a bit scary; I'm not going to lie. He tells Dean the only person he's ever going to kill is Dean. I'm thinking this will come back to bite the hunter in the butt in the future. It also seems to set up the next episode, "Defending Your Life." Although, that's a discussion for another day.
I took to Twitter after the episode, and there was much debate about what Dean did. Some couldn't believe he did it. That what he did was très OOC (out of character). Others felt he was justified. You never know what circumstances will arise where Amy will have to kill again. I've been going back and forth between those arguments myself. To me, the guy that offed Amy like that was old school Dean. The one who saw monsters and the life in black and white. But I did think that over the years, he started seeing things differently. Back in Season 2's "Bloodlust," he even gained a new perspective on vampires. I thought he was thinking about things in grayer terms.
I know in my mind, Amy's a monster as well as a mom. And the way the very awesome Jewel Staite played her, I sympathized for her situation. What I'm concerned with is how Sam's going to react when he finds out what Dean did. I want the boys on the same page again. They don't have to think the same or talk the same or finish each other's sentences. I just want for there to be complete harmony between them for a little while. The Winchesters have to battle some serious outside forces. Why not give the brothers a reprieve from all the sibling drama for just a little bit? Why have Dean go directly against Sam's wishes?
Some more questions: Wonder how long Dean's going to keep this a secret? And really, when will a girl/woman who's connected to Sam not die? OK, for the record, it's happened, but seriously: Jessica, Madison, Ruby and now Amy is quite the collection. Is Sam cursed? When will he actually find some real love again? And, most importantly, why didn't Sam get Dean his pie?
Here's another one: Did Sam deserve to get punched? In my opinion, yes. It may not have been the way I would want Dean to handle things. But that's what he did. I feel like Sam running out on his brother was so not cool. He waited until Dean was asleep and he left a note. Sam wants to be treated like an adult and he wants Dean to trust him and have faith in him. Well, then confront Dean while he's still awake. I know Dean's a hard sell and he finds it next to impossible to let go when he's in protective big brother mode, but the mature thing would have been to tell Dean he was leaving to his face. Dean still may have followed him but it would have been the right thing to do. I don't like the sneaking out. It reminds me of Season 4 Sam when he used to sneak out to take on demons with Ruby.
Jensen Ackles, the director of "The Girl Next Door":
-I love the shot choices he made -- especially the way the action went in and out of the flashback scenes -- and the way (I assume) he and the effects people decided to treat the flashbacks. He mixed it up a little bit and threw in some quick cuts and different camera moves and angles during the hour. It kept the pacing of the episode moving. I thought it was nice.
-I can't believe how much Jensen was in it this time. He was barely in the episode he directed last season, "Weekend at Bobby's." He got to direct Jared more this time around too.
-Writers Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin threw a lot at him and Jensen did a good job. I really didn't catch any awkward shots or moments; and the hour zipped quickly by so it was definitely entertaining. My favorite series of shots -- other than the flashbacks -- had to be the beginning hospital scenes where Bobby, Sam and Dean had to flee the Leviathan presence at Sioux Falls General Hospital. Bobby had Sam on the gurney, and Dean was on crutches. I particularly liked the shot of (a cleaned up) Bobby racing out to the ambulance with Sam in tow. And Dean narrowly makes it to the ambulance in time.
-There was a little bit of a different feel to this episode as opposed to other Supernaturals but not in a bad way. I feel like Jensen was able to put his stamp on the episode even more than he did in "Weekend at Bobby's."
-Bobby shows up at the hospital just as Dean has fallen out of bed. Jim and Jensen were adorable in those scenes.
-Any and every scene with Colin Ford. It's amazing how in tune with Jared's Sam Winchester Colin really is. This kid is a true find. It was so cute when Sam asked Dean how to talk to girls. Was Amy Sam's first kiss?
-The scene with Adult Sam and Adult Amy where she told him why she had to kill. Jared and Jewel worked well together.
--It's always awesome when various fandoms collide. In "The Girl Next Door," Firefly's Jewel Staite -- a member of the Whedonverse -- guest-starred. It's great to know she's now part of the Supernatural universe too. Also, Jewel's character called herself Amy Pond -- a Doctor Who reference.
--Loved the My Bloody Valentine reference too. Although, the TV ad did refer to the movie as "My Bloodiest Valentine."
-It's hilarious that Dean is a watcher of prime-time soaps and telenovelas.
-When Dean calls Sam, the name Lars Ulrich shows up (of course, Lars is from Metallica); Sam uses Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister as an alias.
-I'd like Dean to not say "how are you doing" or "how are you feeling" to Sam for at least one episode. I get why he does say it, but I like how Sam knows he has to take care of himself on this one.
-Big Daddy Winchester -- his drinking issues were reinforced. It makes me even more curious to see a flashback of one of those times. I want to know how bad it got. Mini-Sam didn't make it sound good at all.
-A morphined up Dean was cute. So was Sam in a suit in full investigation mode.